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American Mathematical Society

Prize Committee Best Practices
(as adopted by the January 2014 AMS Council)


The American Mathematical Society greatly appreciates the time and efforts of its prize selection committees and hopes that the procedures suggested below will help to maximize fairness of the selection process.

  1. Prior to the Selection Committee deliberations, each committee member has an obligation to set aside sufficient time to consider each nominee in the pool. The committee itself should set aside sufficient time during its deliberations to consider each nominee in the pool and should apply consistent criteria for evaluating all candidates.
  2. Prior to deliberating about particular candidates, the committee members should identify and agree upon the selection criteria that will be used in the evaluation process. The focus should be on what the candidate has done, not on who the candidate is. Committee members should identify the specific major contributions that nominees have made.
  3. It is suggested that each committee member make a personal list of top nominees before hearing the recommendations of others to avoid undue influence. [If the committee members are nominating candidates, it is suggested that each committee member suggest at least one possible candidate and that all such suggestions are shared with the committee before any extensive deliberations take place; this may help ensure that no one committee member has undue influence on the process.]
  4. Individually and collectively, selection committee members should strive to create short-lists via inclusive methods; i.e., select candidates who are outstanding rather than put forward reasons to eliminate candidates from consideration.
  5. The committee should adhere to the attached AMS Conflict of Interest Statement.

Questions about these best practices should be directed to the AMS Secretary

An additional resource for prize committee best practices is SIAM's Guidelines for Selection Committees.